WASHINGTON - A Stanford law professor and one of four legal experts who testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday called out Republican Rep. Doug Collins during her opening speech.
It was the first hearing for the committee whose members will decide whether to write articles of impeachment after a House investigation concluded that President Donald Trump misused the power of his office for personal political gain when he urged Ukraine’s president to investigate U.S. Democrats.
Pamela Karlan, who is also a former Justice Department official under the Obama administration, said the president’s actions constituted an especially serious abuse of power “because it undermines democracy itself.”
She, along with two other legal experts who were chosen by Democrats, backed impeachment.
But Collins, a congressman from Georgia, said the proceedings were unfair to the president and called them a “disgrace” and a “sham.” He also said the legal experts chosen by the Democrats didn’t care about facts and that they were partisan.
During her opening statement, Karlan specifically called out Collins for his comments.
“Mr. Collins, I would like to say to you, sir, that I read the transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing because I would not speak on these things without reviewing the facts,” she said. “So I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”
She went on to say that everything she read on the issue told her that “when President Trump invited – indeed demanded – foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this a republic to which we pledge allegiance. That demand… constituted an abuse of power.”
Only one of the legal experts – Jonathan Turley, who teaches at George Washington University – said the impeachment proceedings lacked evidence and were being rushed.
Turley was the only expert called on by Republican lawmakers for the hearing.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.